Fully Preserved 1,000-Year-Old Canoe Found in Cave in Mexico
© REUTERS / INAHA wooden canoe used by the ancient Maya and believed to be over a thousand years old is pictured at a fresh-water pool known as a cenote and found during the archeological work accompanying the construction of a controversial new tourist train, in the state of Yucatan, in this handout released on 29 October 2021
© REUTERS / INAH
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Scientists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) discovered a Mayan canoe, dated 9th-10th century AD, in a flooded karst cave on the Yucatan Peninsula almost fully preserved in the water.
"A hardwood log was found in a cave ... at a depth of five meters [16 feet]. Upon closer inspection, symmetrical cutouts for fitting a cover were found, which made it clear that this is a platform-type canoe," a senior researcher said in a statement published by the institute.
The scientists believe that the small 160-centimetre-long boat could have been used to extract water from cenotes, large sinkholes found in sedimentary limestone rock, or to store offerings during rituals.
"The value of the find is that it is the first canoe of this type found in the Maya territory that is completely preserved in such a good state. Fragments of these boats and oars have already been found in Quintana Roo state, in Guatemala and Belize," the archaeologist noted.
The institute intends to continue the research in November to find out the exact age of the canoe and the type of the wood used.
In two nearby basins the archaeologists made other finds, including a human skeleton, wall paintings, a stone stele, a ritual knife and fragments of ritual ceramics. Based on the variety of types of the ceramics, the scientists believe that the place was used for ritual ceremonies for several centuries.